DCC welcomes Ministry of Health announcement on blood tests


DCC welcomes Ministry of Health announcement on blood tests

Media release from the Dunedin City Council
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The Dunedin City Council is welcoming the Ministry of Health’s announcement of blood tests for the residents of Waikouaiti and Karitane.

The announcement today aims to determine the impact, if any, of intermittent spikes in lead levels detected in drinking water in recent months.

Dunedin City Council Chief Executive Sandy Graham says the DCC has been in regular contact with its independent drinking water assessor and Public Health South officials, and has followed expert advice throughout.

“Our staff are working hard to get to the bottom of what has caused the contamination issue and how it resolve it.”

Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins says the Ministry’s announcement provides reassurance for residents.

“The Dunedin City Council will continue to follow expert public health advice, as we have done to date. We will provide whatever support is asked of us from the Ministry of Health and other health authorities.”

In the meantime, staff remain focused on ensuring affected communities have access to a safe and adequate water supply while working to find the source of the contamination, Ms Graham says.

This includes deploying water tankers to the affected communities and having staff on hand to answer questions.

The DCC is also working with an independent technical expert on the response and sampling plans, as well as identifying the source of contamination.

One of the intermittent spikes in lead levels, a sample taken on 8 December 2020, was also incorrectly stated in one earlier radio interview to be four times the acceptable level of 10 micrograms/L.

In fact, at 0.39mg/L, the sample is almost 40 times the acceptable level of 0.01mg/L.

On the same day as the 8 December 2020 spike at the golf club, there was a smaller spike but still above the acceptable level at the bowling club. However, a sample taken from Waikouaiti township’s main street returned a result well below acceptable limits on that same day.

“We are still dealing with unexplained, intermittent spikes, and not a sustained period of elevated lead levels over a prolonged period of time.”